Chicago Cubs: An up-and-down pitching affair
Last but not least are the arms. The Cubs have four pitchers down in Arizona right now, and it has been kind of all over the place. All four guys are currently at Double-A Tennessee and are hopeful they can use this time as a springboard into next season.
Scott Effross was part of the 2015 amateur draft class for the Cubs, selected in the 15th round. He bounced around Rookie-level, Class-A Advanced, and Double-A in 2019, having a wavy season. At Myrtle Beach, Effross posted a respectable 1.84 ERA across 14 2/3 innings in relief.
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He managed a very solid 2.02 FIP and 2.68 xFIP, respectively. Unfortunately, it did not last at the next level. In 33 2/3 innings at Tennessee, across 17 games including one start, Effross posted a 5.88 ERA and saw his FIP and xFIP double.
In his two games in the AFL thus far, Effross has throw 2 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. He has allowed opposing hitters a .364 average. While Effross may never be an impact pitcher, he could have future value for the Cubs a couple of years down the line.
Jordan Minch is the next guy up. Minch spent the majority of 2019 at Tennessee, amassing a less-than-stellar 4.69 ERA across 44 games. Disappointingly for Minch, it has only gotten worse over the past few seasons. His ERA has risen in three straight seasons and struggles to keep the ball in the yard. Through three games in the AFL, Minch is sporting a 4.91 ERA. The glass half full with Minch is his strikeouts, which he has seven and his lowly .267 average against.
Keegan Thompson is the third guy on the list. Thompson was hit with the injury bug this season, as he only made three starts across the year. Notably, Thompson threw five shutout innings in his lone start at Double-A, recording eight strikeouts. He is only 24 years old and should find his way to the big leagues in a few years. Currently, he is pitching well in Arizona, posting a 3.00 ERA across his first two starts.
Erich Uelmen is the final guy on the list. Uelmen began 2019 at Myrtle Beach, posting a solid 3.05 ERA over 11 starts. After moving up to Tennessee, however, Uelmen struggled mightily. His walk rate increased tenfold, and Uelmen saw his ERA jump to a whopping 7.76. Thus far at Arizona, Uelmen has appeared in two games, posting a 2.25 ERA in four innings. Uelmen could find himself in a relief role in the future at the major league level if he can slog through the muck and get back to producing.